This book was originally published in 1943. I have a reprint by Blackberry Books which has acquired the rights to republish all of Ms. Moore’s works. Yea!
I loved this book. My favorite read of the year so far. I can’t wait to get all of her books! If you love Maine and stories of her islands, coast and her people you will want to search out Ruth Moore books.
The story centers around Comey Island. The main family is Hardy and Josie Turner and their 3 children and Hardy’s elderly mom who lives with them. Generations of Turners lived and fished on Comey Island. Hardy has been tending a fishing weir for several years and not made any money from it. He’s discouraged and depressed. Wants to leave the island, but yet can’t bring himself to break from it as it is a part of him and his way of life. The rough Maine winters and summer storms are working against him. He got an education when he was young and was set to become a businessman but the pull of the island brought him home. He sees himself as a failure.
His oldest son Leonard chose to live on the island and fish. He is partners in a trawler boat with his best friend Joe Comey and Joe’s older brother Morris. Morris is a bad man and adds the spice to this story. He is very intimidating and everyone is a little afraid of him. Joe and Morris live in the family home with their widowed mom and youngest brother Saylor. Morris had went away and traveled the world on commercial fishing boats and only came home when his father was drowned in a fishing accident. He has only disdain for the island and its people.
There is conflict and gossip and the island has become a boiling pot. The Turners long for the days of old when it was a tight community working together. We get an inside look at a way of life disintegrating.
There’s a love triangle between Leonard, Alice Lacey and Orin. Will she give up her dreams of the city and marry Leonard? Or marry Orin because he is so easy going and will do whatever she wants? Will Leonard give up the island and fishing to make Alice happy?
There is a terrible fishing accident and a young man is dead. Was it an accident or was it murder? The story really builds in tension and suspense. Hard to put down.
It’s set in the 1940’s, Haral and Saylor are hooked on a movie serial, The Green Archer and can’t wait for Saturday nights to go to the mainland to the movies. The families that work in the sardine factory make .30 cents an hour! There’s no electricity on the island or indoor plumbing. All of these details make a fascinating trip back to the ’40’s. I loved it!
Ms. Moore writes wonderful, full characters. Her use of local dialect adds depth to her characters and creates a strong sense of community. You invest in these people and I am sure I will find myself thinking about them for a long time.
A bibliography of Ms. Moore’s novels. She also wrote poetry.
The Weir (1943) ISBN 978-0-942396-48-5
Spoonhandle (1946) ISBN 978-0-942396-49-2
The Fire Balloon (1948) ISBN 978-0-942396-78-2
Candlemas Bay (1950) ISBN 978-0-942396-70-6
Jeb Ellis of Candlemas Bay (1952)
A Fair Wind Home (1953)
Speak to the Winds (1956) ISBN 978-0-942396-54-6
A Walk Down Maine Street (1960) ISBN 978-0-942396-56-0
Second Growth (1962)
The Sea Flower (1964)
The Gold and Silver Hooks (1969)
“Lizzie” & Caroline (1972)
Dinosaur Bite (1976)
Sarah Walked Over the Mountain (1979)
Hope you get a chance to read her books!